It's a feature of my life that I do a lot of things. Some of them well, even. I can produce films, crowdfund them, create and maintain websites, write books, shoot and edit video, play music, all kinds of stuff. When we're on filming trips I usually do all the driving, the admin, the organizing, the everything-ing. This past week and a bit I've driven from London to Cornwall to Hastings to Canterbury to Lincoln, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Wales, Worcester, then back to London via Salisbury and Winchester. That's something like 7 gisowllion miles, all of them on the wrong side of the road. I can keep going on 5 hours sleep at night if needed. I can find my way through anything. I can park facing the wrong way on the sidewalk. I can go without proper food or tea for ages. I can sleep in extremely unimpressive cheap hotels. But there's one thing I cannot do, and it's getting squished in a closed space.
Tonight on our way back to our flat from central London we got on a tube train that was way too crowded for its own good. I had my three smallish kids with me, with husband guarding my rear. We thought we'd be fine if a touch tight until half a dozen burly rugby-type fellows decided they were getting on that train, too, and just pushed their way in.
We were tight. Way too tight for my taste. The temperature was very warm and rising perceptively with every minute, there wasn't enough room for all of us, I was worried about my kids getting smushed and having trouble breathing, and fighting very hard not to give in to the overwhelming feeling of panic rising inside me.
We only had two stations to go before our transfer and I did my utmost to take it easy. There was a pleasant trio of fashionable Millenials (on their way to some fancy thing, judging by their clothes and pretty smells) who started exchanging pleasantries with us and I talked to distract myself from my fairly acute case of claustrophobia. We got to our stop and I told my husband that whether or not this was the right stop, we were getting off right then and there, even if we had to walk to Croydon we were getting off that train RIGHT NOW.
We did. It was our stop and we transferred to a much less crowded line back to our flat and all was well. But still, many long hours after it happened, just writing about it makes my heart go fast and my chest get all tight.
So in case you were wondering if there was anything I really wasn't good at, you have your answer now...